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Exercise Caution with Surface Water Sources

A water quality report on the Annapolis Valley watersheds is a reminder to be careful when using surface water.

Last year, the Department of Environment contracted the Acadia Centre for Estuarine Research to test water quality on the Annapolis, Cornwallis and Habitant rivers in the Annapolis Valley.

Fifty-nine of the 65 samples taken last September and October had elevated fecal coliform bacteria counts. Many samples also showed high nutrient levels, which can lead to algae blooms.

“This report is based on one set of samples and it’s a snapshot in time, but it serves as a good reminder that coliform bacteria and other potential contaminants may be found in surface water,” said Environment Minister Randy Delorey. “Surface water sources are open to the elements, and coliform levels can be affected by weather events, animal activity and malfunctioning septic systems.”

Gary O’Toole, director of environmental health with the Department of Health and Wellness, said health providers who identify a food- or water-borne illness must report it to the Department of Health and Wellness.

“We did not see any increase in food- or water-borne illness last fall when these samples were taken,” said Mr. O’Toole. “It is important for Nova Scotians to thoroughly wash their fruit and vegetables, and never use untreated surface water for drinking water.”

This is the first survey in the area by the Environment Department, although the Clean Annapolis River Project has been monitoring conditions in the Annapolis River for many years. The department will partner with the project to continue monitoring the river.

The report and other information on surface water are online at www.novascotia.ca/nse/surface.water/ .

Source: Release

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